Books Elma Family Kitty Reading what we're reading

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! {what we’re reading}

29/10/2013

Space for the Butterflies - Dr Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!, Children's books, review

Was Dr Seuss around when we were little? I mean I know he was alive, but had his books and, for want of a better word, his brand, make it across to this side of the Atlantic? I don’t remember reading Dr Seuss books as a child, and I’m fairly certain we didn’t own one; his writing style is so very distinctive I think it would linger in the mind.

Space for the Butterflies - Dr Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!, Children's books, review

And I’m afraid to say that Kitty doesn’t own any Dr Seuss books either; this one is Elma’s. A christening present from Kitty’s godfather, one of our oldest and dearest friends, and a window wide open into a whole new world. It is also purple which right now is very important to Kitty.

Space for the Butterflies - Dr Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!, Children's books, review

I love “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”. I have loved it from the first time I read it, it perfectly combines my love of complex tongue twisting language with a penchant for a little nonsense verse.

Space for the Butterflies - Dr Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!, Children's books, review

There’s something a little special in the patter of the verse too; the first few times I read it I would come unstuck when the couplets turned into triplets, or the rhymes just stopped and veered off in another direction but the more I read, the more the relationship between the rhythm and the story came to light.

The poem is a story about finding your way in the world; and just as our path through life comes with unexpected twists and turns, abrupt jolts and changes from the calm and easy to the fraught and bumpy, so too does the verse. It’s very cleverly done, I think it becomes a third dimension to the story, together with the illustrations and the words themselves.

Space for the Butterflies - Dr Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!, Children's books, review

Kitty loves the silliness of some of the rhymes, the purple cover, and looking at the illustrations of this weird and wonderful parallel universe, and Elma I suspect would be happy as long as she gets to cuddle in under my chin, lay her head on my chest and enjoy the words rolling over her.

Space for the Butterflies - Dr Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!, Children's books, review

So really I think I might be reading this one mostly for me. But right now it’s probably me that needs it most of all.

Space for the Butterflies - Dr Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!, Children's books, review

It’s the tenet of the story: about success and failure – the places you’ll go, except when you don’t. About trusting the brains in your head and the feet in your shoes to find the right path, to pick yourself up when things turn out to be not what you thought they were, and above all to keep striving for the great heights.

Space for the Butterflies - Dr Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!, Children's books, review

Parenting seems like such a minefield of decision at times; full of questions to which I’ve not found the answers and probably a whole load more questions that I haven’t even discovered yet, all wrapped up in trying to work out what would be the best choice for our little family. So a little Dr Seuss on a quiet afternoon is rather soothing to a bamboozled mind.

Space for the Butterflies - Dr Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!, Children's books, review

I can only hope that the ability to bounce back rubs off as much as the guarantee of success!

Maggie Stone

Do go and say hi to Lucy and Kelle and see what they’ve been reading, and if you’ve seen something you think we all ought to be reading, please let us know!

 

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  • Kelle 29/10/2013 at 7:27 am

    How funny, this was the one I’d taken photos for but never got round to posting. Love all Dr Suess Books so much. Great Choice
    xx

    • Carie 29/10/2013 at 7:58 am

      I think that’s probably the closest we’ve come to an overlap! It is a fantastic book isn’t it!

  • Anna-Marie 29/10/2013 at 8:22 am

    I vaguely remember the story The Cat In The Hat, its been a while since I read it though. To be honest I have not read many more from Dr Seuss, this book looks interesting though!

    • Carie 30/10/2013 at 9:56 am

      I haven’t either – we’ve seen the film of The Lorax but that’s about it, but they’re definitely worth exploring further.

  • Lucy 29/10/2013 at 11:12 am

    I do think Dr Seuss is a relatively new phenomenon in this country. I only recall reading them when I started teaching. Like you, I like the mixture of rhythm and nonsense and the vivid illustrations. We don’t have any in out collections, but I plan on changing that soon. This one and Green Eggs and Ham are first on my list. x

    • Carie 30/10/2013 at 10:00 am

      I think that makes sense – because to any American, admitting you’ve never read Dr Seuss seems a bit like never having heard of Beatrix Potter or Winnie the Pooh. Oh the Places You’ll Go was only published in 1990 so we would never have encountered that as children, but the rest were in print even if not popularised. I’ll have to check out Green Eggs and Ham – thank you for the top tip!

  • Mammasaurus 30/10/2013 at 10:12 pm

    We have a copy of that here, in orange, from many moons ago when my husbands best friend moved to Australia, she gave it him as a parting gift which I thought was really touching.

    I have a Kitty who is obsessed with purple at the moment too!

    • Carie 30/10/2013 at 11:04 pm

      What a lovely going away present – how sweet, and how very apt!

      I’m definitely beginning to think purple is the new pink too – we have a lot of it in the drawers. I can’t quite tell whether it’s nature or over exposure to Princess Sofia!